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I’ve spent a great deal of time researching the traits of successful people. It’s true that some people have unique talents and genetic gifts that contribute to their success. But most successful people are not born genius.
Here’s what I’ve found, and what I would like for you to keep in mind on your own personal quest to be successful.
1. Gain reputation
The first is that you need to gain the reputation of being an expert in your field, and create the perception that you’re an indispensable asset to your organisation. Your employer needs to feel as if the organisation cannot afford to lose someone of your talent, value, and potential.
Brian Ainsley Horn of Entrepreneur.com explains: ‘Once you are seen as an authority, or expert, in your particular field, it can open up the door for higher paying jobs and other business opportunities like speaking engagement that can grow your business and fuel your success even more.’
2. You need to be willing to learn new things
Experts don’t just focus on what they already know, they also look to learn what they recognise they don’t know yet. Knowledge isn’t going to just come to you, you need to seek it out. You need to be curious and to ask questions. Aim to know as much about your industry/occupation as you can.
Learn from those around you and have mentors because everyone around you is your superior in some area of expertise (and vice versa; there’s plenty you know that others around you don’t). Use this to your advantage. Learn from their experiences, and from their mistakes.
3. Have a unique and valuable skill that is in demand
Learning an in-demand hard skill while at university can be the easiest way to find a job. By having in-demand skill you make yourself a valuable asset to the company.
LinkedIn recently analysed hundreds of thousands of job postings in order to determine which skills companies need most in 2019.Some of the most in-demand skills include: time management, adaptability, collaboration, persuasion, and creativity.
4. You need to be able to be innovative
Use your tools and your skill set before others do in order to get ahead of the curve. Each day, innovators in the business world create new products, methods, and ideas. They manage to look at problems differently and come up with solutions others cannot, and they provide an endless stream of value to their companies. In fact, innovation just might be the most important component of a successful company.
5. Set goals, and review them regularly
Track your progress, and frequently figure out what the next set of action steps are in order for you to continue your progress. Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.
6. You need to avoid procrastination
Just like the most successful people on the planet, you have 24 hours in a day to get stuff done. Use this to your advantage, and try to make every moment count.
It’s the little things that matter and adding them to your daily routine can make the world of difference long term. Certain habits and practices that you do every day can lead to increased motivation and productivity long term. That is – if they are healthy habits.
7. Be able to help others solve their problems by providing them with solutions.
Don’t focus on selling a good or a service, focus on selling a solution. The sales people who focus on their service or product as their selling approach are missing the point. Good selling doesn’t sell a product or a service. Good selling focuses on identifying problems, then offers a solution to solve the problem.
8. Ask for feedback
You can’t continuously improve if you don’t know where your weaknesses are. Get feedback, and gain strength in these areas. When you actively ask for feedback, you learn more and faster. With some preparation, you can really gain useful information for your growth.
Asking for feedback effectively is a skill that you can learn. It involves preparing the right questions, identifying the right feedback givers, and productive conversations.
9. Seek out new opportunities and network
You need to be knowledgeable in your field, but you also need to network with people who need someone like you in order to fit a need that they have. When you do find a new opportunity, make the most of it in order to open up even more opportunities. Most success stories start with a single opportunity, which led to a domino effect of more opportunities.
10. Turn your goals into positive affirmations
Remind yourself that you’re perfectly capable of achieving your goals as long as you take ownership of the fact that it’s up to you to be successful. The easiest way to turn goals into affirmations is to take each of your goals and rewrite them ‘as if’ they are true in the present tense.
11. Figure answers out on your own
Successful people take time to figure out their own opinions and abilities. Figuring things out on your own is not only a sign of self-confidence, but also of maturity.
The ability to figure things out isn’t simply a function of intelligence. Some intelligent people naturally display the persistence, resourcefulness and creativity needed to figure things out, while others approach things in a rigid, brittle way.
12. Break things down into smaller steps
Break your distal, long-term goals down into proximal short-term goals. For example, if you want to save £10,000 this year, don’t necessarily focus on the long-term goal of saving £10,000. Rather, focus on saving £192.31 per week. This lets you focus on your progress by shifting your focus to the small goals and the small wins along the long-term journey.
13. Ask yourself ‘what will keep me from being successful?’
Then, avoid these bad habits, and pile on the good habits instead. The key to breaking bad habits is not possessing an iron willpower, but being aware of these bad habits.
Persistently approaching your dreams in ignorance will persistently give you failure and defeat as results. Find time and learn first. Whatever you want to endeavour in, spend 90% of your time learning about it. Do not do anything without first learning, do not go into a business you do not fully understand.
14. Find something you love
It is important that you find something that you like doing and that you’re good at, and the success will follow you. Practise and gain experience. Aim to get your 10,000 hours in.
If you feel lost or unfulfilled, these exercises could help you work out what you should be doing with your life
15. Be resilient
Regardless of who you are and how successful you’ve already been, life will inevitably throw you curveballs and tough times. But you need to be able to overcome adversity if you want to become successful and maintain that successful level. You need to be able to pick yourself up and rebuild yourself when you’ve been knocked down or hit a roadblock, and you have to have faith in your own ability, even when you’re having doubts.
These are 15 ways to help ensure success over the course of your career and your life. Keep these in mind, and the success should follow. Many desire to be successful, yet success seems to visit just a few and closes its door to many – so you have to work you way to it.
Matthew Buckley is an organisational psychologist. He holds a master’s degree in organisational psychology from the University of New Haven.
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